Normally around these parts we discuss different social media strategies that our fellow marketers and business owners can use to build our brand, promote our business, and build a relationship with our customers.
Well, today I'm shaking things up!
In fact, I might not even mention a social network in this post! See? Shaking things up.
Instead, today we're talking about guest blogging; or more specifically the 7 deadly guest posting sins I see people committing over and over when trying to incorporate guest blogging into their marketing strategy.
But first, why should you care about guest blogging?
The 411 on Guest Blogging
As most of us know, guest blogging is the act of writing a piece of content for another person's site in the interest of garnering a link back to your own website.
The true beauty of guest blogging, however, comes at the end when we get to include those few glorious sentences. The ones that gives the reader a glimpse into who we are, how magnificent we are, as well as a link back to whatever it is we're linking to.
Not only can these links help you to rank for some seriously profitable keywords on Google, but they can help you build up your social following, spread the word on your brand, and ultimately, make more sales.
There's a trick to it, though.
I have written for over 150 websites to promote my skincare website, so trust me when I say I have made a LOT of mistakes over the last 2 years. Even more, I see numerous mistakes being made by marketers pitching me for features on my own site.
So allow to me to rant...err...educate you on the 7 deadly sins of guest posting and how you can avoid them.
#1 Not Having a Strategy
This is quite possibly the biggest mistake a lot of people starting out with guest posting make.
They think they can just wing it. But you can't just 'wing' a marketing strategy. It needs to have...well...it needs to have a strategy!
If you don't have a plan in place for what you are trying to accomplish with your guest blogging efforts you will just end up pitching useless blogs, and creating content that doesn't give you any traction.
So how can you right this wrong?
Simple. Define your goals.
Decide whether you want to use it as:
A method of backlinking, where you target specific keywords and rank on Google for those particular phrases
Get in front of a new audience perfectly aligned with your business, product, or service
Build your newsletter subscribers by linking directly to a subscribe or squeeze page
Drive direct sales
Whatever it is you want to do, keep your goal in mind when finding and pitching websites to write for.
#2 Not Keeping Track
When I first started pitching sites in the skincare industry I made the rookie mistake of not keeping track of who I had pitched and what topics I had pitched them.
Trust me, it gets really awkward when you pitch the same topic twice in a row to the exact same blog owner.
And not only does it get awkward, but you look like an amateur.
Long story short; track it!
#3 Not Personalizing Your Pitch
This sin is simple: If you address your email as “Dear Website Owner” or “Dear [URL]” you do not deserve the chance to submit content to that site.
Listen, we web-surfers are a savvy bunch, meaning we should not have any problem looking up the name of the website owner in order to personalize our pitch.
It can be as simple as browsing through the site's About Us page, their Contact page, or even by reading some of the comments on the site.
Worst comes to worst a simple “Hi there” will work so much better than “Dear Site Owner” if you cannot find the owner's name.
#4 Not Spell-Checking Your Pitch
Seriously, if you can't even spell-check or proofread your pitch before submitting it to make sure it's free of errors, how is that blog owner ever supposed to trust in your ability to create high-quality content for their audience?
Take the 60 seconds to read over your pitch before submitting it. You'll be happy you did.
#5 Not Pitching in Your Pitch
I know, it sounds so obvious: If you're going to submit a request to write a guest post for a website in your industry, you should include the topic you wish to write on.
But nope. It turns out it's not that obvious.
In fact, you would be surprised to hear how many website owners receive pitchless pitch emails.
Heck, I've received 4 so far this week!
Do yourself the favour and take a few minutes to brainstorm 2-4 topics that you think you would be a good fit for your target blog's audience.
Believe me, a lot of website owners (especially the busy ones!) don't have time to go back and forth with you figuring out which topics work best for them.
Instead, pitch them a few topics and give them the chance to choose which one works best.
#6 Not Submitting Your Best Work
Let's get one thing straight here: Just because you are writing content for someone else's website does not mean you can slack and submit sub-par quality.
Remember, just because that blog manager has given the green light for you to submit a post to their site does not mean they are obligated to hit the “publish” button on that piece of content.
Bring your A-game and submit nothing but your best work. Not only will the site owner appreciate it, but their audience will enjoy reading it and will likely click the links in your author bio.
Which brings me to the biggest sin of all...
#7 Not Linking Your Website in Your Author Bio
A few months ago I posted a guest post on my skincare website from someone who had written a fabulous post. Not only was it hilarious and entertaining, but it taught my readers something.
But there was no link included in their bio. Nothing. Nada.
I even wrote them to see if they wanted to include one. No response.
So what was the point?
Ultimately that was a gigantic waste of time for them.
You see, one of the biggest benefits of guest blogging is the links you get in your author bio. Not only can you use them to link directly to your homepage and drive big traffic, but you can use targeted anchor text that will help you out-rank your competition on Google.
Trust me, hitting Page 1 of Google is one of the most lucrative benefits to guest blogging and is my favourite reason for committing time and energy to a regular schedule of guest blogging.
Because it just works.
So if your brand needs a little boost; if you could use a surge of subscribers; if you want to turn up the traffic; and you want to make more money, incorporate guest blogging into your overall marketing strategy and watch your business soar.